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Monday, April 9, 2012
Bobby V on 'pen: Need to manage it better

By Gordon Edes

TORONTO -- Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure held a meeting for members of the bullpen and catchers Monday afternoon.

Among the attendees were Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon.

Not invited was Daniel Bard.

In other words, the sun went down, the sun came up and the Sox bullpen did not change, despite two excruciating losses in the season’s first three games.

Bard is still on track to make his first big-league start Tuesday. Customs officials in Toronto did not detain either Aceves or Melancon when they declared their occupation as “Major-league relief pitchers.’’

And the manager, Bobby Valentine, threw his support behind the status quo. If anything, he put the onus on himself.

“The bullpen situation? I've just got to manage it better, that’s what I think,’’ he said. “I think we have the arms out there to do what we have to do. I just have to put guys in the right position.’’

Valentine said he spoke with Aceves, who has yet to retire a batter in his first two appearances as Sox closer, giving up a game-tying three-run home run to Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the ninth Sunday. He also spoke about Melancon, who gave up a game-winning two-run homer to Alex Avila and became the first pitcher in major-league baseball to be charged with two losses.

“Everything happened so quickly,’’ Valentine said of Aceves’ seven-pitch outing Sunday. “He thinks he’s making pretty good pitches. I do too. Mark was pretty close to finishing that out. [The pitch to Avila] wasn’t that bad a pitch. It’s not like we have to make up something new and you have to come up with something different. We just have to have a little better results. I think we will have that.’’

How do you manage the bullpen better?

“Better, that’s how I do it,’’ he said. “Just manage better. I will. I don’t think the deck has to be totally shuffled. … I just have to get the right guys matched up. With a little more time, I think I’ll be able to do that.’’

Two pitchers who worked Sunday, Vicente Padilla (four innings) and Franklin Morales (two innings) won’t be available Monday. They combined for six shutout innings.

“These guys are good players,’’ Valentine said of his 'pen. “I think we have good arms who will do a good job, and I think we have starters who will last longer in games. This has been three days of something other than what it’s going to be like.

“With Aceves, he hung one changeup. I’ll take my chances with every other pitch he threw, even though there’s only been about nine of them in two games.’’

Valentine was asked if he was eager to see Bard make his start.

“Well, considering he’s probably been the guy talked about the most the last three games and hasn’t thrown a pitch yet, I’m dying to see him pitch,’’ Valentine deadpanned.

“We’ve talked. He gets it. The poor guy has been thrown in a situation no one should have to be thrown into, really, before his first major-league start.’’